The days leading up to Saturday’s match against Army were full of doubt and uncertainty for the Quinnipiac women’s rugby team.
The game had been cancelled on the morning of Oct. 3 due to the government shutdown, leaving the Bobcats with no opponent for the weekend. Hours later, it was announced that Army would in fact be able to play, and the game was back on.
On Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field one thing however was certain: The Bobcats came ready to play.
Behind stifling defense and a well-balanced scoring attack, Quinnipiac defeated conference foe Army 39-25, good for the Bobcats fifth win of the season.
“We were thrilled the game was put back on,” Carlson said. “This was something we wanted – we wanted the home game. I’m glad we got to show our fans here on the QU surface what we are made of today.”
Elisa Cuellar led the attack, scoring two trys late in the game to help the Bobcats capture their fifth win of the season, her ninth and tenth of the year.
Devon Viera got the scoring started for the Bobcats, as she scored her sixth try of the season to give her team a 5-0 advantage.
Tayler Schussier then followed up with a try of her own, trucking into the endzone to give Quinnipiac an early 10-0 cushion. It was her first try of the year.
“Scoring was amazing, because I missed my last home game against AIC with a concussion,” Schussier said. “Being here, being able to contribute to the team any way was incredible – especially to do it at home.”
Army would bounce back with a try of its own, before Allison Gnys got into the end zone to put the Bobcats up 15-5.
Still, the Black Knights just wouldn’t go away. They cut the lead to 15-13 after a penalty conversion and a try before sophomore Natalie Kosko scored her team-leading 18th try of the season.
“Ever since this program has started, we’ve always had hardships,” Schussier said. “You just have to overcome it. I think today we were just so sick of letting everything affect us and we just had to come together as a team.”
Kosko’s try gave Quinnipiac a small lead to work with, and that’s when Cuellar took over. The junior fullback intercepted an Army pass and sprinted up field for an uncontested try, then did almost the exact thing five minutes later.
“The momentum was strong at that point, and that sequence of events made it stronger,” Carlson said. “She’s been practicing on the blitz.”
Those two trys gave the Bobcats an insurmountable lead.
“Any time you beat the United States Army, you have to earn it,” Carlson said. “We just have to keep the momentum going, now.”
With the win the Bobcats improve to 5-2 on the season. Quinnipiac’s next game is on Oct. 12, when it hosts Massachusetts at home. Game time is set for 12 p.m.